Boston High School: Nashua South (N.H.)

Pleasant return for Nashua South's Tavarez

January, 3, 2014
Jan 3
Before the 2013-14 season began, a handful of New Hampshire boys basketball coaches were asked to name the best players in Division I. None of them mentioned Nashua South point guard Yordy Tavarez.

Perhaps it was a case of out of sight, out of mind. How else to explain the oversight?

Tavarez, a 6-foot senior, was on South’s varsity roster during his freshman and sophomore seasons, but he was academically ineligible last season, when South finished 19-5 overall (16-5 in Division I) and reached the Division I semifinals.

[+] EnlargeYordy Tavarez
NH-Highschool SportsYordy Tavarez is averaging 27 points per game so far this season for Nashua South.
Tavarez has been a scoring machine so far this season. He opened the season with a 25-point performance during a victory over Spaulding (Rochester), and then tossed in 28 when South beat Pinkerton Academy (Derry).

Tavarez scored a career-high 32 points when South beat Alvirne (Hudson) 61-59 in the Chick-fil-A Holiday Tournament’s championship game last weekend. That victory raised the team’s record to 5-0. Tavarez is averaging 27 points in those five contests.

“We have other kids who are capable (scorers), but he’s so quick and so athletic,” Nashua South coach Nate Mazzerole said. “He’s doing it from inside and outside. He’s gets to the rim very well and he’s increased his range. He’s a very good 3-point shooter. He’s also a very good on-ball defender.

“He’s tough-nosed, talented and the hardest worker on the court -- everything you’d want as a coach,” Mazzerole continued. “He’s lacked some guidance in his life, so getting back into basketball is so good for him. He told me, ‘After one game everyone in the state is going to know who I am again.’ He’s a man of his word.”

South needed someone like Tavarez this season, since the Panthers lost four starters from their 2012-13 team. Point guard Tim Preston is among those who is no longer with the team. Preston transferred from South to Lawrence Academy following his junior year.

“Tim Preston would have arguably been one of the top five players in the state, but Yordy worked with us in the summer and we knew what he was capable of,” Mazzerole said. “We’re undersized, but I thought because of our athleticism we would be competitive every night.”

Trevor Knight, New Hampshire’s Gatorade Player of the Year for football, is among those who compliment Tavarez. Knight made a buzzer-beating layup in South’s victory over Alvirne.

“Trevor is an athlete,” Mazzerole said. “He’s a winner.”

The rest of the starting lineup features Vinny Ortolano, Cam Joyal and 6-foot-5 center Mike Osgood.

“He’s really more of a small forward who can shoot it,” Mazzerole said. “We’re really 12 guards and one 6-5 kid.”

Although several coaches wrote off Nashua South when Preston transferred, the Panthers have been one of the state’s bigger surprises thus far. Of course tougher tests await.

“We’re playing solid,” Mazzerole said. “We’re progressing the way we had hoped.

“Having Yordy back helps. He’s worked hard, so hopefully some college coaches will see what he’s capable of. He’s definitely someone who could use basketball to get a college education.”

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and covers New Hampshire high school sports for ESPN Boston. Follow him on Twitter: @603SportsMedia.

Nashua South's Knight commits to UNH

July, 18, 2013
Nashua South (N.H.) quarterback Trevor Knight said the opportunity to play quarterback at the next level and the ability to play college football close to home are among the reasons he gave a verbal commitment to the University of New Hampshire on Thursday.

Knight, who will be a senior this fall, received scholarship offers from UNH, UMass and Albany. UNH and Albany both recruited Knight to play quarterback. UMass preferred him as a defensive back and kick returner.

"At UNH I'll have the opportunity to play quarterback in my home state," Knight said. "It's hard to beat that. UNH is where I feel most comfortable."

On Wednesday afternoon Knight told The New Hampshire Football Report that he was committing to UNH. He also announced his decision on live radio Thursday.

Knight is a dual-threat quarterback who has been Nashua South's starting quarterback since the first game of his sophomore season. Scott Knight, Trevor's father, is Nashua South's head coach.

Villanova, Rhode Island, Lafayette, Maine, Boston College, Holy Cross and Colgate are among the other schools that showed some level of interest in Knight, who also plays basketball and runs track for Nashua South.

Knight rushed for 1,180 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, when he also passed for 1,780 yards and 13 TDs. The highlight of his junior season may have come late in the fourth quarter of a 35-28 victory over Manchester Central, when he broke a 28-28 tie by running for a 71-yard touchdown with 12.4 seconds to play.

Knight has operated out of a spread, no-huddle offense during his first two seasons at Nashua South.

"Not only is the Knight kid a big weapon, but he does a great job of running that offense," Exeter coach Bill Ball said. “He has the ability to beat you running or throwing. In that offense it all starts with him.”

Knight is an Amherst, N.H., resident, but is allowed to attend Nashua South because his father is a teacher in the Nashua school district. He has led the Panthers to the Division I playoffs in each of the last two seasons.

“My friend Mike Lynch (who also played at Nashua South) is going to UNH to play defense,” Knight said. “It's a winning program. They have a lot of tradition at that (the FCS) level. It just felt right.”

Recap: Pinkerton (N.H.) 42, Exeter (N.H.) 16

October, 7, 2011
EXETER, N.H. -- Here's one reason why time of possession can be a misleading statistic: Pinkerton Academy had the ball for 39 seconds in the second quarter Thursday night and still managed to outscore Exeter by 21 points during that 12-minute span.

Pinkerton ran three offensive plays in the quarter and scored a touchdown on each. It was part of a 42-16 Pinkerton victory that had some in attendance wondering if the Astros are the best team in New England.

“Offensively we nickled and dimed enough to hang, but defensively we didn't hold up,” Exeter coach Bill Ball said. “If you miss those guys they go, and they go real fast. That's a very good team.”

With Pinkerton leading 7-3, fullback Kevin Davies scored on a 67-yard run. Senior running back Emmitt Smith scored the two other second-quarter touchdowns. His TDs came on a 96-yard run and a back-breaking 80-yard run with 13.9 seconds left in the half.

Smith finished the game with 289 yards rushing and four touchdowns on eight carries. He also scored on a 23-yard run in the fourth quarter. His last rushing attempt came with 9:42 to play.

“We've been really working on getting to the outside and I had a clean corner for most of my runs, so I was able to run as fast as I could and usually in a straight line,” Smith said. “We can hit quick. That really knocks the air out of you. “

Pinkerton, the No. 3 team in ESPN Boston's New England Top 10, led 35-3 after three quarters.

The victory raised Pinkerton's record to 6-0 overall, and 5-0 in Division 1. Exeter, which entered the contest as the only other unbeaten team in Division I, dropped to 5-1 overall and 3-1 in Division I.

“Speed is a wonderful thing to have,” Pinkerton coach Brian O'Reilly said. “Emmitt Smith is track fast obviously. There isn't anyone in this division who can contend with him. There is no one that is as good a speed running back as Emmitt Smith. No one, because Emmitt can block, Emmitt can run, Emmitt can catch and Emmitt can cut back. So I'm happy to have him on our team.”

Backchecking: Davies, a 240-pound senior, also scored three touchdowns in the victory and ended his night with 114 yards on seven carries.

In addition to his 67-yard TD run in the second, he opened the scoring on a 3-yard run in the first quarter, and added 4-yard TD run on Pinkerton's opening possession of the third.

“The real secret to our team is that Kevin Davies is a beast,” O'Reilly said. “If you don't pay attention to him he's fast enough to run by you and he's obviously tough enough – he likes to run over people. For defensive backs that causes problems. Most defensive backs don't like to see that coming at them.”

Sophomore Manny Latimore, Pinkerton's No. 3 running back, may be the best college prospect on the Pinkerton roster. Latimore gained 68 yards on six carries against Exeter.

“The only thing wrong with Manny is he's a sophomore and Coach O'Reilly doesn't let him have the ball as much as the other guys, but Manny will be around for the next two years after this,” O'Reilly said.

Numbers game: The Astros have outscored their six opponents 251-50, and have scored at least 41 points in each of their five Division I victories.

Pinkerton has already navigated the toughest part of its schedule. The Astros beat Nashua South 56-14 and dismantled Salem 49-14. Nashua South, Salem and Exeter each have one loss.

“We're hard to contend with because we can go left, right, up the middle and we can throw the ball a lot more than we do, I just don't want to do that,” O'Reilly said. “There isn't much we can't do as far as what part of the field can we hit. We can do that if we really have to.

“I knew we had a good team, but yes, I am continuously surprised how our kids keep answering the bell week after week after week.”

Mass. appeal: Brockton is next on Pinkerton's schedule. The Boxers, who are 1-3 and have been shut out twice, will make the trip to Derry, N.H., Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest.

“Now we'll get ready for Brockton,” O'Reilly said. “We'll give the kids three days off this weekend and then they come to our place next Saturday. I'll go watch them [Saturday night] at Fitchburg.”


PA (6-0) 7 21 7 7 --– 42
EX (5-1) 3 0 0 13 --- 16

First Quarter
P – Kevin Davies 3 run (Ryan Coombs kick)

Second Quarter
E – Logan Laurent 23 field goal
P – Davies 67 run (Coombs kick)
P – Emmitt Smith 96 run (Coombs kick)
P – Smith 80 run (Coombs kick)

Third Quarter
P – Kevin Davies 4 run (Coombs kick)

Fourth Quarter
E – Tyler Grant 1 run (kick blocked)
P – Smith 23 run (Coombs kick)
E – Ethan Joyce 5 run (Laurent kick)